By Hanning Mbabazi
Kampala: If you go to any Police Station around the country and find officers wearing huge smiles, do not wonder why. Happiness is all over Police Stations across Uganda after Ministry of Finance has since accepted to take over the debt, in a process that has started with an audit to establish the authenticity of the outstanding bills.
Fred Enanga, the Police Spokesperson confirmed news this morning saying the Ministry of Finance has since accepted to take over the debt arrears in a process that has started with an audit to establish the authenticity of the outstanding Police bills.
“We have suppliers who under their association have been working with the police. Their payment went into domestic arrears and we have been paid debts since 2016. We are looking into arrears of 2017 and 2018,” Enanga said.
By the close of last year, police had a power bill of 33.9 billion Shillings, a bill of 31 billion Shillings for feeding to Police Officers in operations, the water bill stood at 15.8 billion Shillings, while the fuel, oils and lubricants debt stood at 15.1 billion Shillings.
Other bills included a 5.8 billion Shillings debt for vehicle maintenance, 4 billion Shillings for rent of 375 police units, 3.1 billion Shillings for uniforms and parts, 4 billion Shillings for AMISOM payment and Insurance worth 1 billion Shillings.
“Some audits are complete. They managed to get an audit firm to show whether the bills were genuine. There is a structured payment and as soon as the funds are available, we shall pay them the suppliers,” Enanga said.
It should be noted that crime preventers under National Crime Preventers Forum who supplied food to different police units across the country between December 2015 and 2017 had threatened to pitch camp at different police stations until they are paid their full amounts of money over a total of Shs14.5b. These suppliers urged that they were contracted by the Exodus SACCO, owned by the police to supply food to different police stations on instruction from the former IGP, Gen Kale Kayihura, but since then, they have not been paid.
The chairperson of the group Ronald Muliisa Rwamakuba said that since the removal of the former police boss, Gen Kale Kayihura, the new police leadership has turned hostile to them and their attempts to engage them have proved futile. The suppliers said they would petition the Speaker of Parliament over their claims, on account that Parliament had refused to approve Police budget requests for clearing old debts.
A total of 299 companies that have been supplying food to police have on several occasions been protesting and other threating to protest demanding payment of Shs30b arrears.